Wednesday sweat over skipper’s availability

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CAPTAIN Rob Jones remains a major injury concern for Sheffield Wednesday ahead of their FA Cup third round tie with West Ham.

The uncompromising centre-half is still trying to shake off a back knock which forced him off at Walsall on Boxing Day. Spanish player Miguel Llera, who’s loan deal expired yesterday, deputised for Jones at Preston North End and Tranmere Rovers.

Owls number two Chris Evans said: “The scans that he’s had have shown no lasting damage and I spoke to Rob and he feels a lot better.

“Rob has been an important player for us and I’m sure he will have a big part to play.”

With Llera returning to Blackpool, Wednesday boss Megson will have to make a minimum of one alteration to his back four for the meeting with Championship high fliers West Ham. He hopes to have Jones available for selection but if he is ruled out for a third match in a row, Mark Beevers could get the nod at the heart of the defence. The defender has recently returned from a loan spell at MK Dons, who he started for 14 times.

Then again, Megson could opt to move Reda Johnson, fresh from scoring his fifth goal of the season against Tranmere Rovers, from the left-back berth into the centre to partner Danny Batth. In the tactical reshuffle, Mark Reynolds or Julian Bennett could fill in at full-back.

Stoke City have barred Ben Marshall from playing for Wednesday in Britain’s oldest cup competition so David Prutton and Jermaine Johnson are vying for his place on the left flank.

Marshall has produced a series of fine displays since arriving on a temporary basis from the Potters. His loan deal is due to expire on January 15 after the top-of-the-table encounter with Charlton Athletic. Megson has repeatedly said he wants to keep a hold of the talented 20-year-old for the remainder of the season.